The longest line we saw was not for snacks or papaya salad--although, believe it or not, papaya salad has quite a devoted following--but for crates of mangoes. Those smaller, gold ones that we call champagne mangoes here in the States--and pay dearly for--are one of the basic varieties of mangoes in Thailand, and the one Thais seem to miss most, hence the long, patient line.
It wasn't all about the food, though. We stopped by and visited our friends at the Thai Tourism Authority and made the ritual observance, pouring water over the Buddha to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
The incense wafting from the temple and from various altars scattered about the festival reminded me of those boat trips up and down the Chao Phraya River which runs through the middle of Bangkok. While the river is quite wide, so abundant was the incense being burned in temples on either side--and so numerous were the temples--that we could smell it all the way out in the middle!
Every time we see these performers at Thai celebrations around Los Angeles, their routines and costumery are increasingly outrageous--but a lot of fun. Check out those huge boots beneath the pink flounces! Trippy, really trippy!Even more peculiar to me was the Thai woman in street clothes who hopped up on stage and sang "In Them Ol' Cotton Fields Back Home." Having come from the cotton fields of the South (while not specifically from Louisiana, as the song relates), I experienced quite a disconnect hearing it performed in this setting.
One reason I wanted to go to this second festival was because I found out there would be vendors selling Thai plants, and I've wanted a kaffir lime tree for a really long time.